Today Google finally aired its long awaited
Operating System. The operating system was detailed at a
press conference starting at 1 p.m. EST, and the open source code was
posted online just
before the start of the presentation. The new operating system
brings a dramatically different look and perspective to the market
and just may give Microsoft and OS X some tough competition by
reinventing a tired old wheel -- the operating system -- offering the
first laptop/desktop OS built around the browser and web
A Google engineer set
the mood for the presentation announcing in the introduction,
"Chrome is the foundation of everything we’re doing
According to Google, its Chrome browser has
garnered 40 million users who use it as their primary browser.
Google is already beating Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser by
confirm this claim in our browser benchmark series, parts 1,
That success, in part, inspired Google to make the jump to the OS
market. With the Chrome browser coming to Linux and OS X
platforms, Google thought -- why not make a full Linux distribution
built around the Chrome browser and web applications?
Chrome OS is indeed built entirely around the company's browser.
For that reason, it naturally uses HTML
5 to provide it with rich graphical content and other advanced
programming content. HTML 5 is used for graphics, video/audio
playback, threading, threads, notifications, real-time communication,
and storage -- all critical factors to enabling games and
The company is very enthused
about both the netbook and tablet movements, as they have spawned
cheap, full-featured internet devices, perfect for Google's web-app
based model. Google says its OS is built for netbooks and
tablets and is based on three principles -- "speed",
"simplicity", and "security".
many Linux distributions use some form of multiple desktops, Google's
OS instead uses multiple Windows -- each a Chrome browser,
essentially. Each browser can have multiple web applications
open simultaneously as tabs -- similar to PC-side applications in a
standard operating system model. Ironically, the company's
competitors, in this respect, may fuel the upcoming OS's success by
their decision to release web apps -- one example of this is
Microsoft, which recently released a web
application version of Office. Describes Google,
"Turns out, Microsoft Office launched a killer app for Chrome
The browser window allows you to find files stored
locally on your machine just like Windows Explorer or other file
dialog windows. When you click to open them, though, rather
than loading a stored application, it launches a web one. Media
from attached devices such as Droid
phones, pops up in a new tab and is displayed/played.
intriguing decision by Google is to only offer solid state drive
netbooks in its upcoming Chrome OS models, soon to be released by its
partners. Google says its goal is to make the computer feel
like a TV -- with an "instant-on" aesthetic.
far as security, woes of OS X and Windows will not be problems on
Google OS, according to the company. It says that under its web
application model no app is trusted, so the potential for system
compromise is dramatically reduced. It should be interesting to
see if that holds true in practice. While that seems unlikely,
even if Google can simply reduce the rate of attacks/vulnerabilities,
it may be on to something, though. The Chrome browser's track
record thus far has been sterling, so its hard not to buy into
Google's rhetoric for the time being.
Under the new OS, data
is stored as read-only and is only able to be accessed by a small
list of trusted apps which are signed and verified. Each app is
run in its own sandbox. And user data is synced and backed up
on Google's cloud (which may be an unsettling thought to some).
Despite the privacy concerns, this means if you lose your netbook,
you won't lose your data -- which is certainly a welcome development
for anyone who has ever lost a laptop.
Google will launch
Chrome OS netbooks in the holiday season 2010; tablets and laptops
running Chrome OS will launch at a later date. Chrome's demo at
the presentation was running on an Eee PC, so that seems one likely
target. As mentioned, the upcoming hardware will feature SSDs
and it will use 802.11n wireless cards, for now. For now
developers can download test builds and work with them. Android
apps should run on the OS, to the delight of the mobile OS's
burgeoning developer community. The OS lacks a Silverlight
plugin option currently. It can be run in virtual
Overall, if there's one thing made clear by the
launch to developers and Google's presentation, it's that Google is
looking to drastically rethink the consumer operating system.
Google drives this point home, stating, "We are trying to offer
a choice for users. The model of computing we’re trying to advance
is fundamentally different."